1) One of the reasons why I enjoy interviewing various couples is because their backgrounds vary so much, and it’s really interesting to become acquainted with such a diverse group of people. If you would, please tell me more about your backgrounds and how the two of you became traveling fanatics.
Derek: I was born and raised in Southwest Florida where I attended very low tier schools that didn’t challenge me in the least. I found myself surrounded by people who really didn’t aspire to do much in life. Luckily as I was growing up, my father -who was a touring musician and photographer- used to put up a big sheet on the wall as a makeshift screen to have slide-shows in the family living room. What stuck with me was the rocky mountains. While Florida had pristine beaches, it did not offer these sharp spikes of snow covered earth that protrude into the sky. My wanderlust started there, however growing up without a ton of resources means that you work to pay your way through college, which I did full time at Guitar Center. At the age of 22 I boarded a plane for the first time in my life, met Jasmine a few months later and have been fighting to travel as much as possible ever since.
Jasmine: There is a chance that it started subconsciously sledding down a snowy hill with my little brother in Germany as toddlers (we were army brats), or taking my first plane ride by myself at the age of about 8 to see my grandma and papa in Virginia. I have always been a big reader and most forms of fiction take hold of my imagination, the idea of travel has the identical effect. So maybe it is the combination of reading and early childhood travel.
2) With traveling, I’m sure you meet many different people. How did the two of you meet, and while traveling, do you meet many other interracial couples?
Jasmine: Derek and I were running with the same circle of friends for about a year or so and coincidentally never met. “It was serendipitous,” I always say. Our best friend Nick went to haphazard lengths for us to meet, he knew somehow that we were compatible. The first setup for us to talk did not work out at all. Nick convinced Derek to come to a house party where I was definitely going to be. As Derek arrived I rudely shouldered past him to leave (mind you I was “angsty” back in the day). The next chance for us to meet went more to plan for Nick. A couple of our friends convened at a book store Derek and I included. We all hung out for a bit, as everyone neared the parking lot I noticed that this “new guy” was not with the group. I swirled around and spotted him sitting on a bench all by his lonesome, boy was he sneaky. I am not sure if he gambled and sat there because he knew that I would be intrigued, or if mischievous Nick predicted that I would stay. All I know is that our first conversation went for hours on that bench, the bookstore closed and the lot completely emptied and we kept talking. We have been each-other’s partners in crime ever since.
3)You don’t find too many couples that have a strong common interest. Since the both of you enjoy traveling, has traveling helped you realize something about your relationship? Do you see yourself always traveling or do you wish to settle in one location on a long-term basis?
Jasmine: Traveling in my point of view embodies our major goal as a couple, that goal is progression. I think the very first plane we took together 5 years ago to San Francisco really set our relationship in motion. Deep down we knew we were on the same path. I think that realization is a rare benefaction. I know that we both agree that our dream is to possess a small, but special hub where we can regroup and then leave again. However I do have unhealthy obsession for animals, I would have a small zoo right now if Derek would let me. So I am not sure how we will reconcile my creature hoarding tendencies and wanderlust in the long run.
4) I’ve yet to travel outside of America, but I’ve heard many different thoughts and perceptions of interracial couples in other countries. Have you ever noticed a blatant difference in the treatment of interracial couples versus intraracial couples while outside of America?
Derek: Oh yeah! While Traveling through Italy and Spain we noticed that there were so many interracial couples that nobody seemed to care and you sort of cease to notice. What struck me were the mixed French and African couples, these were some of the most attractive well dressed couples we have ever seen. On the other hand, visiting the Bahamas was a bit of a test of patience. The local population didn’t seem too thrilled or couldn’t understand why a girl with any color would be with a white guy.
There are major differences within the United States as well. In Southwest Florida where we met, and all thought the south (Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina) there seems to be an air of judgment that comes from people of all races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The judgment ranges from black men -usually older- who say rude things and blatantly flirt, to waspy liberal white women who over-state their ‘tolerance’ of our relationship. In California and so far in Denver people are the same as europeans, they just don’t seem to notice or care.
5) I fell in love with your “Pact,” and although Joseph and I made one similar to yours a month ago, we decided to redo it because we really enjoyed how in depth your pact is. Whose idea was it to make the pact, and how has it been beneficial to your relationship?
Jasmine: We love to take long drives together, to listen to music, to zone out, or even get into heady conversations. Most drives involve all three. What came up more often than not was our dissatisfaction with our progression. We both knew that we could be doing more. The Pact was written for months in our heads and through those lengthy car rides. I just simply put the fundamentals down on paper. The Pact is still shaping and evolving between us.
Derek: In addition to our relationship pact we have also came up with personal and professional pacts. It’s amazing how just putting your goals, insecurities, and desires down on paper can motivate you to make changes. By the way, one of our goals is to have a collection of pacts contributed via our website. We would like to create a community where people share their pacts publicly and have a support group to help them achieve whatever their goals are. -we are dreamers-
6) You’re a young couple who seems to be having fun and enjoying your marriage (something I strive to achieve, LOL). Besides the items in the pact, are there any “must do” actions that you require in the relationship in order to make sure you keep on having fun and enjoying yourselves?
Derek: My “must do” is more of a “must not” I must not get too comfortable. I recognize that Jasmine is way out of my league. For this reason I feel that I must keep fighting to prove to her that she is with the right man. I associate getting too comfortable with complacency and this girl deserves someone who will use every ounce of his being to create her perfect world. I must not ever take her for granted. Living that mantra allows everything else to fall into place naturally. Note: Jasmine hates when I say this
Jasmine: I think we both must practice not taking each other for granted. Derek is the most kind hearted and balanced person I know. I think the best way that we keep our relationship fun and silly is not taking ourselves too seriously. Behind closed doors Derek is outrageous and kooky, he hides that side of himself well. We act like children when we are alone.
7) My dream travels would include traveling to Egypt, Fiji, and Thessaloniki (after the negative politics dwindle…if ever). Do you have any dream travels, and if so, where and why?
Derek: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is my list topper right now because of the natural beauty, intensity of the several day hike, and I am interested in seeing this amazing feat of architecture with my own eyes. Other trips I am dying to take include a road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road, I would like to go back to Spain for Las Fallas festival in Valencia. I would like to visit Rio De Janeiro sometime before the 2016 Olympics, because you know travel snobs are going to say “oh you like Rio? You should have seen it before the Olympics ruined it” LOL! (I know that is a petty reason)
Jasmine: Macchu Picchu has been a must for me ever since I was about 12 years old, my best friend was born in Peru. I remember her parents had a picture of the ruins as their computer desktop and I was entranced. One of my favorite things to do with Derek is wonder beautiful cities early in the morning and I think anywhere in France would be great for that. India is kind of my ultimate. I am nervous about going, but I feel this deep need to travel there at some point. When we are a little seasoned I am dragging Derek to India.